Touring Walt Disney’s Los Feliz home last fall was one of the coolest places I’ve ever seen. It can only be topped by the time I toured Skywalker Ranch.
Skywalker Ranch is the headquarters for Lucasfilm and Skywalker Sound, located 40 minutes north of San Fransisco. George Lucas wanted a retreat for film makers to create outside of the Los Angeles Studio scene.
We were invited to visit Skywalker Ranch as part of a press trip to promote the new George Lucas film, Strange Magic. Our first adventure at Skywalker Ranch was watching Strange Magic with George Lucas (yes he watched the movie with us) in the famous 300-seat screening room, called the Stag Theater.
The Stag Theater is located in the Technical Building at Skywalker Ranch. There are two Star Wars statues from Palpatine’s office flanking either side of the movie screen.
The scenery was just amazing, with rolling green hills and large trees, it was breathtakingly different for this desert girl! The ranch is over 4,000 acres but only 15 acres are developed, so there is lots of open space.
Main House at Skywalker Ranch
The main house is a gorgeous Victorian style ranch house, it was first thing George Lucas built on the property. While it’s full of art and original movie artifacts, it was designed to be comfortable, creative space.
We toured several rooms on the main level. The first one containing display cases filled with really cool George Lucas memorabilia, like a crystal skull, the Holy Grail chalice and THE hat from the Indiana Jones movies.
Luke Skywalker’s Hero Light Saber is on display as well as original models from Star Wars. The AT-AT is the size of a toy, it’s crazy how they made them look so huge and real on-screen. The stop motion animation in the original Star Wars is truly amazing.
We weren’t allowed to take any pictures within the main house but check out how pretty the front doors are! A lot of the building materials were made at the ranch.
This official photo of the Lucas Research Library showcases the amazing stained glass ceiling and spiral wood stair case, both built on site. They had to corkscrew the staircase into the library through a window opening.
The glass dome was amazing to see in person. What you can’t see is the cozy fireplace, it would be an incredible place to spend the afternoon reading.
There are several difference spaces at the Main House to inspire employees and guests, including a garden atrium right outside the library.
George Lucas’ office suite is on the 2nd floor in the round turret. There is also a smaller screening room in the main house and it houses their super secret art department.
There are also several restaurants at the ranch for employees and guests including one at the main house. They regularly hold BBQ’s outside on the lawn for employees.
We met the chef at the main house, Mindy, who told us about the elaborate gingerbread houses she makes every Christmas. This year’s house was a replica of the main ranch house and took several people to lift and move.
The grounds of Skywalker Ranch are really beautiful and serene. With all the greenery, I can almost image an ewok running out from behind a tree.
Skywalker Ranch Gift Shop
Originally there was a wood mill on site that made all the amazing woodwork throughout the ranch, like the spiral staircase in the library. This is an example of more of the word work in the building that houses the Skywalker Ranch General store.
Of course I did some shopping. 🙂 The tiny Skywalker Ranch general store sells exclusive merchandise from the ranch, including jackets, shirts, mugs and firefighter patches! Skywalker Ranch has it’s own fire station which also helps around Marin County as well.
There are official Skywalker Ranch bicycles are available for employees to get around the campus.
Ewok lake sits between the Main House and Technical building that houses Skywalker Sound.
Technical Building at Skywalker Ranch
After making a full loop around the main part of the property, we headed back into the Technology Building. Inside the Technology Building, I snapped a few pictures of some of the fun stuff on display.
Check out this cute little guy from Return to Oz, just hanging out in this atrium. There were lots of original movie posters throughout the halls as well.
Down a few hallways were signed movie posters representing movies that were made at Skywalker Sound.
Of course the Disney ones caught my eye. 🙂
There is also an on site restaurant for employees to grab a meal while at the ranch.
The sign at Skywalker Sound says “Skywalker” in Italian.
We didn’t get to tour them but the ranch does offer rooms for anyone that will be working on longer projects there.
The Skywalker Inn features 32 suites all uniquely themed based on someone who inspired George. Sometimes talent or directors will bring their families to stay as well since the property is very private and free of paparazzi.
More Photo Tours of Skywalker Ranch
I toured Skywalker Ranch with 24 other bloggers, who also took pictures and shared their experience at the ranch with their readers. Check out their posts for MORE Skywalker Ranch fun:
- Mom Endeavors
- Merlot Mommy
- Fancy Shanty
- 5 Minutes For Mom
- Tammilee Tips
- The Bragging Mommy
- My Big Fat Cuban Family
- OC Mom Blog
- The Queen of Swag
- Budget Savvy Diva
- A Sparkle of Genius
- Disney Gals
- Mommy Enterprises
- Trippin’ With Tara
- Mrs. Kathy King
I attended press events with Disney to promote #StrangeMagicEvent and #PixarInsideOut. I’was provided with an expenses paid trip to San Francisco in exchange for my coverage about the events. No other compensation is given. As always, opinions and experiences are my own.
This post was originally published January 16, 2015.